Micajah "Big" Harpe and Wiley "Little" Harpe are the secondary antagonists of Disney's 1956 live action film Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, the prequel to Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. They are a pair of river pirates who are Samuel Mason's right-hand henchmen. They are based on America's first known serial killers of the same name.
During Mike Fink's race against Davy Crockett, he and his cronies come across Wilson's Cave-Inn, where Mason and the Harpe brothers call out for them to come over. Fink stops the boat and Mason assembles the other pirates for the attack as they dress up as native warriors. Little Harpe asks Mason about taking down Mike Fink and he declares that they will take him easily like they did before. When Fink realizes that Davy is catching up, he decides to keep moving and heads off. The pirates realize that their plan did not work and they follow them down the river on their horses. The disguised pirates move out to attack, but Fink and Davy retaliate by shooting at them. The pirates realize that they are bring outnumbered and they all retreat.
After Davy beats Fink, he drops him and George off on an island, where they find themselves captured by a Chickasaw tribe led by Black Eagle. He takes them to his tepee and he explains that white men have been persecuting his tribe. Davy learns that there is no other Indian tribe in the area and that the "Indians" he fought with Fink were actually pirates in disguise, so he decides to help defeat them with the help of Fink and his crew.
Davy and his friends come up with a plan to capture the pirates by posing as bankers and they use rocks to use as Spanish gold. They come across a man named Colonel Plug and they decide to take him next to town. Meanwhile, the Harpe brothers watch them from a cliff and are overjoyed as Plug sings a song about the gold, so they head to the cave to inform Mason. Plug secretly drills a hole in the boat and plugs it as he attaches the string to Moose. He then searches in the bags, only to discover rocks as he realizes that they've been tricked. Plug tries to sing a song for Davy and Fink, but Davy realizes that he now knows them and captures him, while the Harpe brothers watch from the cliff and head back.
The next morning, the pirates prepare for the attack and Mason signals them with a shot as the pirates approach the boat. Fink orders his men to get the boat moving, but when they realize that the boat is sinking, Fink orders his men to attack. When Mason realizes that Davy and his friends are defeating the pirates, he orders the Harpe brothers to get the powder canoe to kill them. Mason and the brothers light the dynamite on the canoe and push it towards the boat. However, Davy pushes it away and the trio fall back. The trio duck under the water as the canoe explodes and they head back to shore. Fink recognizes the trio and Davy and George head after them.
Mason orders Big Harpe to keep a look out, while he and Little Harpe enter the cave to get a keg of powder to kill Davy. They plant a barrel of dynamite into a hole, while pouring the gun powder leading to the dynamite. Big Harpe spots the pair approaching the cave and rushes to inform Mason. Mason orders the brothers to hide as Davy and George enter the cave. Big Harpe tries to kill George with his sickle, but he ducks and continues moving as he remains unaware of his presence. As the pirates move in to attack, George turns back and they return to their hiding place. When Davy notices the dynamite, he brushes the trail of gun powder leading to the hidden barrel and lights the powder leading to Mason. Mason dodges the explosion and they engage in a fight. Mason battles Davy and the brothers battle George, while accidentally attacking each other. Big Harpe charges at George, but George dodges his attack as he crashes into a pile of crates and he knocks him unconscious. After Mason is killed, Little Harpe tries to flee, but ends up getting apprehended by Fink and his men and knocked unconscious.
In 1799, Micajah was decapitated by Moses Stegall after losing to a battle with John Leiper. Wiley escaped the confrontation and rejoined the Mason Gang. 4 years later, he and the gang were captured and arrested. Wiley managed to escape from prison, while Mason was shot. In 1804, Little Harpe was recaptured, along with Peter Alston and they were both hanged. Their heads were decapitated and placed on stakes as a warning to other outlaws.
Their deaths both took place before the film's events.
Movies Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier: Red Stick | Bigfoot Mason | Amos Thorpe | Santa Anna | Creeks | Swaney and Bruno | Tobias Norton | Mexican Soldiers Davy Crockett and the River Pirates: Samuel Mason | Harpe Brothers | River Pirates | Colonel Plug Johnny Tremain: General Gage | Redcoats The Light in the Forest: Wilse Owens | Niskitoon
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